Night broodeth o'er the solitude serene
As some glad mother o'er her first-born child,
Pouring her gladness on the shadowy scene
In floods of magic moonlight: bird-cries wild
Ring out amid the stillness; soon the stars
(Night's waking dreams) jewel the welkin wide;
Tho dark trees stand mysterious avatars;
The moon moves proudly like a regal bride.
There camped upon the crest-line of the hill
Slumber the men beneath the silent night:
The Youth who wait the broken line to fill,
Strong to endure and eager for the fight.
And there beyond hushed in a deeper sleep
Upon the fire-swept zones, beneath the free
Blue silent night, there lay men who did keep
Our pride of Honour for posterity.
Now in this hour ships from yon harbour go;
Yon southern port, bearing their human freight;
Brown men of steel born to resist the foe,
Dreaming of life and love so near death's gate-
Into the night they merge, and who can tell
If to pass Youth or at its ecstasy
To die: the night doth keep lone sentinel
Above Life's grand eternal mystery.